Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cycling Cerebellums - Penrith to St Kilda April 2012.

A while ago a friend of mine Barbara in Sydney came up with a crazy idea to ride from Penrith to St Kilda to raise money for the Children’s Hospital at West Mead. At the time I agreed to ride the last day.

Last weekend saw the conclusion to this epic ride. Some prep was required, like how to get to Seymour the start of the last day, what to take, what to wear, how to get there, etc.

The Bike Bag, some research had been done with my trip to Noosa, but then in the post came a catalog form Ground Effect. They had a bag that folded away to approx A4 size. Perfect so I ordered it, next the back paper, dragged out my 2xu Transition Bag. Big enough for what I need and the ye-old sleeping bag which I used at Portarlington.

How to get to Seymour, V/line Train to Seymour – done and only just on $10. Perfect.

The week before was time to start getting the bike ready, then packed up, get a train ticket. Oh no, no trains running, but replaced with Buses. OK I can do that, but how to get to Southern Cross station, public transport? Taxi?, other ? Well a friend of mine offered me a lift into the city ok done.

We got into the City and the Southern Cross station just enough time for the a coffee and toilet stop before heading down to the bus’s. When we got there V/line had arranged 4 bus’s to Seymour. 1 Bus had 3 stops, the rest was stopping all stops. Ok quickest one please. Placed the bike under the bus and got on board. The bus pushed back right on time and we headed out. Once the freeway I placed the MP3 on closed my eyes  and got some sleep. Some 2hrs later and few stops the bus made it to Seymour. Off the bus, grab the Bike spoke with the station staff to get directions then off to the caravan park to meet up with the crew.

After walking 15mins I made it to the caravan site and found Barbara. Placed my stuff down and Barbara showed me around and introduced me to the crew. Before it got too dark I wanted to unpack the bike put it back together, took me approx 30mins to do this. Once completed I headed back to the camp fire and heard stories of the day, had a little dinner. Then the group did what was the highlight of the day and then the naughty rider of the day. Because the group was bad that day tomorrows penalty was to ride out of town in the lowest gear.

Few of the riders headed off to bed but before then the bike captains  Paul and Glen and I sat down to plan out the route through Melbourne.

In short was to head down Hume Hwy to Sydney Rd to Princess Park for Lunch. After lunch track down to Spenser St and City Rd to the Beach Rd then all the way down to Brighton and the finish line. Once we were happy with the route off to bed.

6am Alarms sounded. Time to get up for 7am roll out. Shower, change, pack my crap up. Some breakfast and placed my bag in the back of the trailer and ready to roll at 7am. After one of the riders had issues with their cleats we headed out. Perfect morning clear, with sun rising, a little cool but not too cold. The ride out of town was slow but just before we hit the freeway we were told we could change out of low gear. We headed out on the freeway the amount of crap on the side of the road, tire treads, rocks, furniture and other crap.

The morning was good, approx 11km out we stop to strip down was getting a little warm. We headed off and stop approx 40km at road house for morning tea. We refueled and headed out again after 10km or so I got a flat so we swapped the wheel out and kept on going. As we heading down the highway we got our first sight of Melbourne Skyline. It was perfect sun out, wind on our backs doing 55km down the highway and out of gears. Was not too long before we thought we were not going the right way. Out came my Iphone and the maps and we checked out where we were. Not too bad next exit then a right for 3km and then left back onto Hume and Sydney Rd.

Just before we got into serious traffic we pulled over for a keep regroup. Ride the riders about lights, unclipping, car doors, etc. We headed down Sydney Road both Paul and I leaded. Barbara later commented on the hand signals were great. The group made it to Princess Park. We saw the Support Crew pulled off the road for lunch. I took the time to change my front tire from earlier on. After lunch Paul and I gave the 2nd briefing on the afternoons ride. Down past old Children’s hospital then down to Spenser St and past Crown and into City Rd. Once we saw the bay the riders started to know that 1000km was almost done and what they had archived.

As the support vehicles got stuck in traffic we had to stop. We took the time at St Kilda at the Sea baths home of Ironman Melbourne. We waited some 45mins before heading off again  to Brighton. With Barb. and Elisa who’s idea this was in the lead and Paul and myself back one. As we passed Brighton Baths I said to Barb. next car park on the right. We made it, they had done it. We spent some time cooling our legs in the bay and taking some photos. Later that night we headed out to a local restaurant to recap the day and the ride. We went around the tables and recapped day from everyone. My highlights were, 1. Doing the ride and 2. Seeing these gals & guys complete what they started out to do .

Was a epic ride for a great cause.

For more information contact Cycling Cerebellums at

Riders heading into Brighton
Finished and cooling our legs
Mother Duck and her ducklings (and support crew)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Belated St Kilda (Race 7) Report

Sorry for the delay guys, but it’s been a busy time for me.

Race 7 saw the last Tri race for the season and me being able to say I’ve completed my first full Sprint Tri Season and full Tri Race season with Tri Alliance.

The morning was a little cool and winter is on the way the water was cold you could feel the chill in the water. The horn sounded and off we went, 750m swim the water was flat and somewhat clear. The swim felt fast, but the body was starting to hurt it had been a long race and training season. I refection I shouldn’t have done this race. I came out of the water run into transitions grab my TT bike and headed out. The ride felt good and fast  I’m getting to like my TT bike more and more. Quick ride towards Port Melbourne turned around and headed down toward Ormond Point, quick turn around and back towards St Kilda and the 2nd loop. And again the 2nd loop was the same as the first. When I got back to St Kilda – dismount in style and heading in for T2. Dropped the bike off, on with the runners and out for the run. The legs were tired and felt heavy but managed to keep good race, I felt that I kept good pace and headed for home. I raced over the line, body sore, but the race and season was done!

Race 7 completed in 1 Hr 25m 57s.

Time for some R & R and done some different stuff.

Heading out of T1 for the bike

Out on the bike

Race done at the finish line

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Belated Portarlington (Race 6) Report and Ironman Melbourne

With the week being short and I had to work on the Monday being a public holiday in Melbourne I took my day in Lieu on Friday and headed down to Portarlington in afternoon. Tri Alliance had arranged housing for both the Friday and Saturday nights with some 50 old TA people and families  all down from Melbourne for the weekend. The house I was had 8 blokes and one token woman. The house was newish but the beds were average to be honest the floor would have been softer. Most of us who showed up Friday went the pub for dinner. All I will say The Grand is not that Grand.
Saturday morning saw us all meet at the Portarlington Pier for a light training session. This was a light ride, run, swim oh and wait mount practice. When you exit transition there is a hill as you take off on the bike and return back in from the ride. Greg had us practicing mounts and dismounts up the hill. It took me 4 goes before I got my head around it. Injury was my big toe which scored the tar on one of the practice mount.

Before we went for a swim we helped Supersprint setup the transition area from the photo you can see that it does not take very long for the TA Army to get anything done. The swim was fantastic clear warm water, quick swim out to the end of the pier and back in.

TA Army @ Work in Portarlington
After training it was back to the house for some R&R while watching the F1 on the TV. Most of us headed back to The Grand for dinner, and the service was not the greatest.
Race Day – I was the 2nd up quick breakfast and shower before whole house went nuts, I took the time to pack my stuff up, it’s amazing how much crap you take away for a weekend. 2 Tyres, 4 tubes, warm clothing, training clothing, race clothing, the list goes on and on. When I got to the transition area my bike had some bit noise coming from the chain. I went over to the CBD Cycles Tent and guys gave it a quick tune up and ready for the race.

Time to put the bike into transition and get my gear ready, then back to the tent. I spent 5mins talking with Dana from PCSC about the plan for the day and how I felt about the race. What the goal was, etc. Before too long it was time to get ready for the race. On with the wet suit and head down to the pier for a warm up swim then get ready for the race.

Race Day Morning
 A few of the TA crew were in swimming waiting for our wave starts we wished each other good luck and away we went. The Swim was great, only two issues 1. Sun was in my eyes once we turned past the pier and 2. we merged into the long course guys doing their swim. I got back to transition feeling good found my bike looked around and noticed heaps of bikes which meant I had a great swim. Out of transition with my bike jumped on and up the hill. Thank god for those practices that Greg made us do. The bike was uneventful ride small hill or two to test the rider when I came back into town it was time to get my head around the dismount – down the hill stopping and not coming off in a big way.  Guess what I did it perfectly without coming off. Cheers from the other TA people bike into the transition dropped the bike off on with the shoes and off for a little 8km run. First the stairs and then 2 minor hills and out to the turn around. I found the run the hardest, it was a trail not a concrete path  my left side was killing me from the hard bed. Time to suck it up and push through it. Lots of TA people out on the course both watch and competing.  On the way back when was about 2 kms from the finish  I started to push came down the hill turning towards the finish line and done.

Sub 2 hours! I just completed the longest tri ever and I did it in under 2 hours. Official time 1hr 56m 53s
 Happy as!  Post race I spent some time with guys from Lakeside for post race massage. Need too loose up the left side. After this i spent time with the rest of TA crew cheering everyone home.
Just before the start

Out from the Swim

Coming down the hill - ride over

Heading towards the finish line

Ironman Melbourne 2012

Was on total high from this weekend. The following weekend was Ironman Aid station duties. Not sure what to make of it, but my friend Ellie and I offered to crew one of the TA aid stations at the Mentone Life Saving Club. Ellie and I went to the expo on Saturday and checked it out, the expo was not great but ok. We bumped into Jay & Marina two TA guys who were completing Ironman Melbourne the following day, we wished them luck.

On the Sunday we were asked to arrive a little earlier to setup as the course was rated as fast. We had to lug all the items supplied from truck some 500m to the Aid station location. We setup all the tables, opened the water bottles, coke & gatorade , gels, and backup table. Once we had a table setup we it was time to take a break have some food, go to the bathroom, etc as the Pros were due approx 1:30pm. We could see the chopper off in the distance and the officials came through saying the leaders will be here soon.  The pros came through they didn’t  look out of breath they came straight through and kept going. We had a spotter approx 100m ahead of the Aid station and he would yell out when a TA person came through. First through was Ollie he had told me that the 22km mark was his mental block. Well we cheered Ollie and every TA member through and they loved every minute of it. The age groups kept one coming and we handed out what we had and they kept going, lots of thanks some stopped and chatted a little, it was unreal. After we finished our shift Ellie and I headed up to Elwood to say hi to the other TA tent/Aid station, one the way through we saw a few TA people close to 2nd TA Aid station. Once we arrived at Martin St and made to the Aid station we gave the TA guys the heaps up and again we cheered them through.

Mentone Aid Station

Elwood Aid Station
From Facebook entries  we saw a lot of TA crew were meeting at the Great Provider  approx 1km away from the finish line. Ellie and I went there and joined the crew and we cheered everyone who passed on the way to finish line. We heard that the Great Provider were fined for noise pollution which is not surprising with the noise we made from whistles and cow bells and general cheering.  Ollie came along with basically hug and thanked everyone TA person for their support, it made me so very proud that he could complete the race and also finish 3rd age grouper and secured his spot at Kona. Ellie and I wanted to go up the finish line we had been running past it for the last few weeks to  see what this show is about. It was unreal noise, lights, music and people who had poured their heart and soul in completing their very own Ironman.  Ellie has run marathons so she knows what it takes, but to also add a 3.8km swim and 180km bike to mix that is a lot of work.
Ollie finishing Ironman Melbourne 2012

Almost at the finish line

The Finish Line

1km from the Finish @ The Great Provider

Ollie @ the Great Provider

Next weekend is my 7 Sprint Tri it’s been a long season and I’m looking forward for a bit of break before heading into Run and Duathlon season.

Look out for the Race Report and my end of Tri Season Report Card